BREWDOG AND ELLON
So far in our look at next year on Planet BrewDog we have cast the spotlight on our beer and our bars in 2017. For Friday’s subject we are turning our attention towards the continuing quest to make BrewDog the best company on Earth at which to turn up for work each morning.
And that all begins at home.
As you all know, this year we truly broke the mould with our new East Brewhouse. A custom-designed, purpose built 300HL Ziemanns brewery that required roads to be closed, thousands of metres of pipework to be installed and Fisher to hire yet another cherry-picker. The grand opening in May of 2016 was just the start, and we have spent the months since dialling in every facet of its operation. You might expect us to consolidate from here, but as you also probably know by now that isn’t the BrewDog way at all. We are going all in.
Over the course of 2017 we will be increasing fermentation capacity at our new brewhouse as we attach more 1,800HL fermentation vessels to our tank farm. Each has the capacity of over half a million bottles and will ensure that we can continue to grow our business and meet the needs of our customers. The other thing we are addressing is our bottling line – next year we are getting our hands on a bigger, faster and more badass version.
Sour Beer Facility
Looking ahead to the future always fills the whiteboard with amazing possibilities, and next year we are making another one of them a reality. As we continue to expand our new brewhouse next year we will – at the same time – finally begin to construct another over the road. Our standalone sour facility (working title the BrewDog Overworks) has gone through the planning stages and will see construction work begin in January!
Slated to be complete hopefully by the Autumn of 2017, we are going to immediately put the facility to work with a series of incredible tart, sour, funky and wild beers…
- More fruit-infused Blitz Berliner Weisse releases
- Sours fermented and aged with fruit in barrels
- Farmhouse Ales fermented with Brettanomyces in oak foudres
- Old-World style reborn; IPA and Porters as they were back in the day
Of course you will be able to come and visit, see (and more evocatively) smell the ageing as it takes place in the sour facility – plus you’ll be able to hopefully taste the most recent releases first, over the road in Dog Tap. How does that sound?
DogTap/Pilot Kit Expansion
Speaking of DogTap, next year we are going to continue to make our brewery bar a true showcase for everything that is going on at BrewDog. Firstly, we are increasing the capacity of the Pilot Kit that often fills the bar with sweet brewing smells. It is where we truly pin back our ears and go for it on new recipes, upgrades to existing ones, and (until we can move over the road) our Blitz sours range. With a commitment to more small-batch beer in 2017 for our bars and beer festivals, our Pilot Kit needs more fermenters. So more fermenters it shall receive!
Secondly, if you’ve paid a visit recently you’ll have noticed we added a mezzanine level – in 2017 we are also stripping out the current shop area below it and building a cool comfy seating area in which to relax. We will then be installing some repurposed shipping containers to the outside to become a dedicated, bespoke BrewDog shop (at least one of which may well be crowned with a rooftop beer garden, just because it sounds awesome). We are also increasing the number of taps to 13 and extending the kitchen to help with the popularity of DogTap Pizzas!
Lone Wolf Distillery
Our shareholders who joined us for the recent Beatnik Brewing Collective brewday in Ellon got the first exclusive look at our complete distillery – and our Equity Punks before them at our #PunkAGM2016 queued patiently all day to get the first taster samples of BrewDog gin and vodka. This year has been an amazing time for everyone connected to the distillation project, and the fruits of all their hard work will finally be revealed next year (and again in 2020 for our whisky).
It has been an intensely busy summer in the distillery as our total focus has been towards perfecting the recipes for both our vodka and gin. But the progress has been amazing and Lone Wolf is on schedule to be launched in January/February 2017. Only a few months away, but for those of you who can’t wait that long we are planning a series of small-batch prototypes in the meantime – two vodkas and two gins – as Equity Punk exclusives over the coming months!
Updated Lab and Sensory Suite
2016 has truly been a year of Quality focus here at BrewDog – from building our new world-class brewing laboratory suites to implementing a bespoke sensory programme, to building some awesome partnerships with suppliers of raw materials. Key to all of this has been the people involved at every stage, and the relentless and uncompromising hard work of the Quality and Production teams. But next year, we are going to keep them even busier…
With the increased capacity of our new brewhouse, the sour facility and Lone Wolf, the roles of our quality team are more important than ever. Next year we will be delving deeper into the analysis of the building blocks of beer – the raw materials and yeast, whilst also investing more in our industry-leading laboratory set-up. Increased gas chromatography, and a new dedicated system of GC-olfactometry, plus more sensory suite analysis. Stand by for a detailed blog post on that soon!
Casting an eye to the next twelve months at our Brew HQ doesn’t just revolve around bricks and mortar (and barrels) – we are also continuing our quest to become the best company in the UK to work for. In July of this year we announced a Profit-Sharing Scheme (codename: Unicorn Fund) to evenly share 10% of our profits amongst the incredible people at BrewDog who make it happen. We will continue this through next year as well, giving back to those who got us to where we are today.
As 2017 will see us ship more beer to more customers in more locations than ever, our team needs to grow to keep things running. We always actively encourage our crew to apply for roles within BrewDog, as they already have the skills, training and are dialled in to the BrewDog way of life. So next year we have set the ambitious target of a 60% internal promotion rate so that we can retain those people and let them advance their careers with us in the industry.
We will have a lot more in the BrewDog playbook as we move through into next year of course, but those are just some of the things we are really excited about for 2017 in Ellon. Let us know below which you are most looking forward to by leaving a comment, and stand by for Monday when we conclude our 2017 showcase by moving from BrewDog at home to BrewDog overseas…